The brain neurotransmitter dopamine activates the metabolism helping the body establish a healthy weight. Additionally, dopamine helps the brain generate sufficient energy to run the body. It stimulates the heart, regulates the flow of information through our brains, controls movement, and allows humans to experience feelings of passion and pleasure, according to the Health News Stand website. Dopamine production is boosted by the consumption of certain foods, especially those containing the amino acid tyrosine. Eating these special foods adds to our ability to respond optimally to our lives both physically and emotionally. All foods eaten should ideally be organic to avoid the effects of pesticides, chemicals and genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
Protein are high in amino acids, which are necessary for dopamine production. Include foods such as fish, eggs, chicken, turkey and red meat to supply your body with adequate amino acids. Fermented soy products such as tempeh and miso and other legumes are considered incomplete proteins; however, form complete proteins when eaten in combination with grains, becoming excellent sources for dopamine-related amino acids.
Certain vegetables in particular are excellent sources of amino acids that stimulate dopamine production. For example, beets supply the amino acid called betaine, that aids in the regulation neurotransmitters like dopamine. Artichokes and avocados have also been found to increase dopamine levels.
Ripe bananas are a major source of tyrosine, explains MedHelp.com; and as they continue to ripen and become sweeter, their tyrosine component becomes more potent. Tyrosine helps regulate and stimulate dopamine levels, increasing memory and alertness. Apples are recommended for being high in quercetin, a potent antioxidant, according to MedHelp.com, and shown to aid in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases by triggering the production of dopamine in the brain. Remember to eat strawberries, blueberries and prunes to round out the best fruits supplying nutrients that trigger dopamine release.
Nuts and Seeds
Raw almonds, sesame and pumpkin seeds make a great snack and help regulate dopamine levels. Almond butter or tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, are excellent sources for the amino acids needed for dopamine production.
Wheat germ supplies the essential amino acid phenylalanine, that’s converted to tyrosine, which then stimulates additional dopamine release. Do not use wheat germ if you are gluten intolerant or allergic to wheat.
Several common herbs are known for helping to regulate dopamine levels, according to Blessed Maine Herbs. These include nettles fenugreek, ginseng, milk thistle, red clover, and peppermint. They are best consumed as herbal teas.
Adding supplements to your diet to increase dopamine levels may be helpful if you’re unable to get those nutrients from foods. Tyrosine, plus several vitamins such as B, C and E as well as iron, folic acid and niacin all help to trigger dopamine release. Check with your health care practitioner before including additional iron in your diet.
Sources for this article include:
- Nicotine vs. Dopamine – The chemical messenger war and why people who try to quit nicotine keep failing
- Nicotine, anxiety, depression, stress – What’s the formula for escaping the dopamine roller coaster?
- Got Happiness? Learn How to Boost Dopamine & Create Your Own Joy!
- Researchers eye N-acetylcysteine as a potential natural treatment for psychiatric conditions like depression and schizophrenia